Changes to the qualifying process for optometrists

What are the new requirements?

In future, students will be qualifying as optometrists at master’s level. Their clinical experience and assessment will be part of their master's degree, rather than a stage they complete after graduating. If you are studying for an optometry degree under the new requirements, you will only complete one integrated qualification. All learning and assessment will be based on new learning outcomes rather than the existing competencies. More detailed information is available on the GOC website

What are the changes to the College's role and the Scheme for Registration?

Students currently complete an optometry degree and then start the College's Scheme for Registration in order to qualify as a practising optometrist. This two-stage process will not continue under the new requirements, although the College will continue to run the Scheme for some time. 

In future, the College will work in partnership with a number of UK universities to deliver work-based placement experiences as part of their master’s degrees. The College will still play a key role in the organisation and assessment of work-based placements and will continue to support students through this crucial stage of their training.

What will the new placement programme be called?

Our programme for delivering placements on the new master's degree programmes will be called Clinical Learning in Practice (CLiP).

When will the new placements start?

The new placement process will start as each university re-launches its programme in line with the new requirements, but they will not all do this at the same time. Most universities are expected to start the new master's degree programmes in 2023 or 2024. College-delivered placements will start towards the end of the master's degree. This means that the earliest a student will start a placement through the College Clinical Learning in Practice programme is early 2026.

Will I be on the Scheme for Registration or Clinical Learning in Practice?

If you are on a degree course which started up to and including September/October 2022, you will be on the Scheme for Registration. If you plan to start in September/October 2023 or later, your university can advise you further. We will keep you updated with more details in due course.